3 Years, 30 Headlines

by Thomas Dargon, Jr.

A lot has changed in the last three years.  Below is list of thirty things that happened since our 1L year.  Will you remember them ten years from now?


8/23: Earthquake hits DC and causes extensive damage to Washington Monument.

9/11: On the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a memorial site opens at Ground Zero.

9/17: Occupy Wall Street protest begins in NYC’s Zuccotti Park.

9/20: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy ends: LGBT soldiers can now serve openly in the military.

10/5: Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, dies.

11/7: Michael Jackson’s physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, is convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

11/9: Football legend, Joe Paterno, is fired from Penn State amidst the Sandusky sex abuse scandal.

12/5: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declared an end to the Iraq War.

12/17: Kim Jong-un, 28, assumes office as the Supreme Leader of North Korea.


2/6: Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 60th anniversary as British monarch.

5/18: Facebook IPO opens at $38/share.

8/4: Michael Phelps wins 22nd Olympic medal in London.

8/16: Ecuador grants political asylum to Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.

8/24: Lance Armstrong is stripped of 7 Tour de France titles and receives a lifetime ban from cycling.

9/17: Video footage of Mitt Romney’s “47 Percent” speech is released.

10/29: Hurricane Sandy makes landfall in New Jersey and causes $30 billion in damage.


2/11: Pope Benedict XVI becomes the first to resign the papacy since 1415.

4/15: Two homemade bombs explode near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

6/9: Edward Snowden reveals himself as the source of the leak of classified NSA documents.

6/26: In US v. Windsor, SCOTUS holds that DOMA’s interpretation of marriage is unconstitutional.

8/28: President Obama speaks at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

9/26: With 662 career saves, Mariano Rivera throws his last pitch at Yankee Stadium.

10/1: Federal government enters a 15-day shutdown on the same day that healthcare.gov launches.

11/7: Twitter goes public with an IPO of $26/share.

11/19: JP Morgan Chase agrees to pay $13 billion to settle claims stemming from the mortgage crisis.

11/27: An $18 billion merger between American Airlines and US Airways creates world’s largest airline.

12/5: Nelson Mandela, 95, dies at his home in Johannesburg.


3/8: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappears with 12 crew and 227 passengers.

4/30: Dow Jones Industrial Average closes at a record high of 16,580.84.


Hillary Clinton Talks Basketball, National Security

by Alexa Millinger
Photo via today.uconn.edu

Photo via today.uconn.edu

Notably not addressing whether she would run for president, Hillary Rodham Clinton urged a packed audience at the UConn Storrs campus on April 23 to continue to be the “participation generation.”

The former first lady, Senator from New York, and Secretary of State’s appearance at UConn headlined the Edmund Fusco Contemporary Issues Forum, a lecture series funded by a grant from the Fusco family of New Haven.

She opened with shout-outs to her friends in the audience, including former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd and Senator Richard Blumenthal, who was Clinton’s law school classmate. “I’m hoping he doesn’t tell anyone what we did in law school,” she joked.

Pandering to her UConn audience, Clinton congratulated the men’s and women’s basketball teams to a roaring cheer from the crowd of more than 2,000. She even rattled off names of each team’s star players, professing herself to be “a huge fan of Shabazz Napier.”

The message of her prepared remarks targeted her UConn audience, urging millennials to get involved.  Today’s young people, she said, are making this a “participation generation,” by volunteering in record numbers and using popular support to push issues like LGBT rights forward. Unemployment or underemployment among young people, Clinton said, was hindering this participation.

 “We can’t permit those who would be willing to participate to feel like we no longer need or want them,” she said.

After Clinton’s prepared remarks, Herbst read her several student-submitted questions on topics ranging from her views on American media to Putin’s action in the Ukraine.

Clinton recounted her experiences leading up to the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. She described her anxiety watching footage of the raid on bin Laden’s Pakistan compound from outside the compound while the raid was underway, which was the only footage they were able to see, and her feeling of “justice being done” when they received confirmation he was killed.

When asked about the emergence of Edward Snowden, Clinton was critical of his decision to abscond to China and then Russia “when we have all these protections for whistleblowers” in the United States.

“I have a hard time thinking that someone who is a champion of privacy and liberty has taken refuge in Russia, under Putin’s authority,” she said.

Among the questions posed to Clinton, Herbst said she was not going to ask the one question everyone wanted her to ask, referencing Clinton’s presidential ambitions.

“We heard you’re going to be a grandmother,” Herbst told Clinton before she left the stage, presenting her with two sets of baby-sized husky apparel for her daughter Chelsea’s future child.

UConn Faces Title IX Lawsuit for Sex Assaults on Storrs Campus

by Alex Anastasio

The University of Connecticut at Storrs faces a federal Title IX complaint by seven current and former students, filed in late October. The students allege that UConn failed to protect them from assault or to assist them afterwards.

Several of the students testified before the Connecticut legislature. They described the University as uninterested in or incapable of processing complaints of sexual assault. For example, one student said that the University gave her no guidance and that it actively discouraged her from going to the police with her story.

Famed civil and womens’ rights attorney Gloria Allred has agreed to represent the student plaintiffs in the case, earning it high-profile media attention.

In the complaint and hearings, students have described a number of sexual assaults. One student described how the University expelled a man after it found that he had sexually assaulted her, only to later allow the back onto campus. Several students argued that the University showed particular favoritism towards athletes. In one example, a student told about how she’d reported a potentially violent encounter between a football player and his girlfriend. The player was charged with a misdemeanor in connection with the incident, but his punishment on the football team was a mere 15 minutes on the bench.

There are also stories of University administrators who did not take sexual assault complaints seriously and who sometimes responded to allegations by questioning the victim’s mental state. Students expressed frustration at how the University police system would not take complaints seriously. One victim recounted how a campus police officer responded to her report of a sexual assault by telling her that female students needed “[to] stop spreading their legs like peanut butter or rape is going to keep on happening ‘til the cows come home.”

University President Susan Herbst has been the subject of criticism for comments she made after the complaint was filed. Herbst made several comments strongly opposing the idea that UConn was insensitive to sexual assault victims. Herbst recently issued a statement expressing compassion for sexual assault victims and promising to prevent sexual assault and to help victims. The University is also apparently making efforts to make its sexual assault reporting system easier for students to navigate.

Professor Schmeiser Aids Sandy Hook Advisory Commission

by Liz O’Donnell

Susan Schmeiser
(via law.uconn.edu)

As the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings approaches, members of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission (“SHAC”) have been working to provide answers about the events leading up to the tragedy of December 14th, 2012.

Professor Susan Schmeiser, an expert in mental health law, currently serves as an unofficial reporter for the Commission, which Governor Malloy tasked to investigate how the events of last December happened and how best to respond, and to provide input on how to prevent something similar from occurring in the future.

“The Commission is specifically looking into the issues of gun violence, school safety, and the mental health system, including access and the delivery of treatment, stigma reduction, and how stigma impedes treatment,” Schmeiser said.

Schmeiser said she became involved after a UConn Law alum working in the Governor’s office spoke with former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, who participated in a similar commission after the Columbine shootings. He said that the commission used a law professor to assist the members in organizing and drafting the final report.

“They were looking for a law professor and knew I taught in mental health law and family law,” she said. “I thought it sounded like an amazing opportunity to learn from experts in the areas in which I teach about what’s happening in the world and what needs to be done.”

Although she said she was unsure at the time what the job would entail, so far she has attended as many meetings of the Commission as she could, taken extensive notes, and done legal research with respect to Connecticut’s recent statutory enactments.

Two UConn Law students – Jeff Wisner and Emma Rotondo – are also assisting Schmeiser with her duties as reporter.

“We have all observed the hearings, whether in person or on video, and are working on outlining the existing materials. It’s great to have more sets of eyes and ears on the subject,” she said.

Schmeiser said that as a reporter, she will help with the organizing and drafting of the report and she will continue to do legal research when necessary.

“It’s been an honor to participate in any way in this process. The members of the Commission are working hard, dedicating their time and effort without remuneration, and that has been incredibly impressive,” she said.

Schmeiser credited Dean Fisher with encouraging UConn Law faculty to take an active role in the Connecticut community.

The Commission issued a preliminary report in March but has not yet issued its final report. Schmeiser said the Commission is working to make sure the final report it releases will help contribute to the positive changes that have already taken place in Connecticut.

“The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission’s contribution might be to add considered analysis and opinions of the issues that have salience beyond just Newtown,” she said. “The Commission wants its work to have a broad impact because people will be paying attention.”

But the SHAC functions as a study commission, rather than to propose legislation.

“They are more likely to come up with a broad and complex analysis of how we’re failing kids and others in promoting a culture of violence, and in not providing uniformly effective and available mental health services. Hopefully that will resonate throughout Connecticut and beyond.” Schmeiser said.

Pro Se Round-Up of the Supreme Court October Term

by Alex Anastasio

McCutcheon v. FEC:
In McCutcheon, a political donor is challenging sections of federal campaign finance laws that limit donations to politicians and political committees. The donor is not challenging the individual cap on donations to any particular candidate or committee but is instead challenging the aggregate limits that limit the total amount of cash that can be donated during any political cycle. This case is, in some ways, a child of the controversial Citizens United v. FEC and promises to continue the same themes of free speech, money in politics, and the powers of Congress to regulate campaign finance.

SCOTUS Blog Oral Arguments Additional Information

Schuette v. CDAA:
Affirmative action is once again before the Supreme Court, though this case presents a new legal angle. Unlike previous cases in which the permissibility of affirmative action was decided, the issue in this case is whether voters in Michigan, which had an affirmative action policy, may eliminate this policy by state constitutional amendment. The amendment, passed in 2006, prohibits all Michigan public schools from considering factors such as race or gender as part of their admissions policies. At the circuit level, a closely divided 8th Circuit panel held that the amendment violated the 14th Amendment

SCOTUS Blog Oral Arguments Additional Information

NLRB v. Canning:
The Constitution grants the President the power to make appointments while the Senate is in recess but otherwise requires the President to receive the consent of the Senate. In 2012, President Obama determined that the Senate was in recess and made several appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. However, the Senate was not technically in recess at this time because it was conducting pro forma sessions at regular intervals. The question, practically, is whether the Senate can effectively block the President making recess appointments by holding sessions that are pure formality.

SCOTUS Blog Additional Information

Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway:
This First Amendment case concerns whether or not a city meeting may open with a religious prayer. The case will once again reopen debate as to where to draw the line on invocation of religious themes at government facilities.

SCOTUS Blog Additional Information

Mt. Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens:
Urban renewal policies have sometimes been criticized as allowing racialized housing discrimination by city governments. Here, the litigants are a group of African-American residents who argue that the government of Mt. Holly is engaging in discriminatory use of urban renewal policies. The litigants are bringing this case under the Fair Housing Act, but the case recalls the eminent domain issues arising from cities seizing land for urban development. These kinds of takings were considered by the Court in the controversial Kelo case in 2005.

SCOTUS Blog Additional Information

McCullen v. Coakley:
This case combines two highly contentious issues: free speech and abortion. The issue in this particular case is a Massachusetts law that strictly limits the ability of people to protest within thirty-five feet of a health facility that provides abortions. The case provides an opportunity for the Court to reconsider the 2000 case of Hill v. Colorado, which may or may not allow Massachusetts to enforce the currently disputed law.

SCOTUS Blog Additional Information